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Crossing Borders ‘Expat Stories from the Netherlands’ ft. Nasiari & Pauline

September 26th, 2023

Get ready to dive into the fascinating world of expat life in the Netherlands. In our blog series "Crossing Borders," we're sharing short personal tales straight from the hearts of those who've embarked on this incredible journey. From cultural quirks to conquerable challenges, delightful discoveries to career twists – it's all here.

In this edition of ‘Crossing Borders', we are sharing the story of Nasiari Madulid, who recently relocated from the Philippines to the Netherlands.

Could you please share some words about who you are and what enthused you to move to our country?
Hi! My name is Nash and I recently moved from the Philippines to the Netherlands to join Microsoft as a Nanofabrication Packaging Engineer. I was lucky enough to be able to bring my partner, Pauline, with me here. It was indeed a big step for us, but reading about the country and getting to know more about the Dutch life and culture made it a bit easier to finally decide to move here.

What were your first thoughts when you touched down in the land of tulips and windmills? Any amusing culture shock moments?
I arrived in spring, so the tulips and windmills were magnificent to see in real life (not in photos anymore). But I would say that the weather had its own way of surprising us. It could be sunny and hot in the morning, then all of a sudden, the temperature drops. Hence, I had to always bring a jacket and check the weather forecast before going out.

Another surprising thing was seeing some bridges that move upwards or sometimes rotate to give way to bigger boats - super awesome! I was just glad it did not happen when I was in a hurry.

We've heard about Dutch cycling culture. Did you embrace it right away, or did you have a "wobbly" start?
It was indeed a wobbly start because I only got the courage to get a rented bike (from Swapfiets) after 4 months. I was amazed when I saw how many variations of bikes the Netherlands have – there are cargo, bakfiets for kids, bikes with child seats or pet carriers, and even tandem bikes! It is fascinating to see people cycling around the city while carrying and doing all sorts of things – pulling a luggage, holding another bicycle, hands-free, eating while cycling. It feels great to cycle because I arrive quicker than when I’m walking.

Tell us about a funny 'slip of the tongue’ you had while trying to navigate the Dutch language or customs.
I was trying to self-study through Duolingobut it still did not prepare me enough when I had to meet an officemate whose name was “Gijs” - it definitely was a tricky name to pronounce! Definitely looking for Dutch lessons now so I can speak more confidently.